MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Some outraged Nassau County residents, upset by a plan to shut down half of its police precincts, spoke at a Public Safety Committee meeting Monday.
Milagros Vicente, a mom from North Valley Stream, was among those who showed up and spoke at the meeting. She brought a petition from her neighborhood, trying stop the Fifth Precinct from closing.
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"In an hour and a half, actually, I got 78 signatures -- in just an hour and a half," Vicente said. "Yesterday, people thought I was crazy because it was the Super Bowl and people were asking me 'Why you coming around when it's the Super Bowl time?' I said 'This is more important than the Super Bowl.' I love football and I'm glad the Giants won, but this is more important."
Under the plan, Nassau County will be implementing a new Community Policing Plan, which includes the closing of four of the area's eight police precincts.
The First Precinct in Baldwin, Fifth Precinct in Elmont, Sixth Precinct in Manhasset and Eighth Precinct in Levittown will become community policing centers with fewer officers.
Upset members of those communities came to the meeting with signs and petitions, including Pat Nicolosi, a civic leader from Elmont.
"Now they tell us crime is down, if you live in Elmont, you don't believe that at all. They can show me statistics -- not at all. I hear gunshots, I see police officers working, I have helicopters flying over my house. When I see cops coming down my block, I immediately lock my doors and I pray for their safety. Why are they closing the areas with the most crime, this is unconscionable," Nicolosi said.
County Executive Ed Mangano said the plan would save about $20 million and police patrols wouldn't change in neighborhoods. He said the remaining four precincts would serve the entire county.
However, even that explanation didn't convince some.
"I hope he closes one where he lives -- Mangano," said one woman at the Monday's meeting.
The Nassau County Legislatures Public Safety Committee is expected to vote on the closing of the precincts sometime Monday evening.
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